Measuring Social Media: The Value of Influence

February 16th, 2011

Valerie Simon

“Influence is about the value you give,” emphasized Deirdre Breakenridge, author and President of Mango! Marketing at the February 15th PRSA NJ Measurement and Evaluation workshop on Monitoring and Determining ROI for Digital/Social Media. Breakenridge also noted that it is extremely important to consider the platform(s) where those you are targeting spend time. Measuring social media is about going where your audience is; if you are trying to reach teens, for example, consider focusing your efforts on Tumblr.

Here are some additional thoughts on evaluating influencers Breakenridge shared with me during this video interview following the event.


As we continue to counsel BurrellesLuce clients on new ways to identify influencers and listen to them across all types of media and platforms, one thing is apparent: the elusive influencer is not one who can be discovered by simply noting fans or followers. The power of a particular influencer may change based upon their platform, subject matter, and perhaps most importantly, the demographics and interests of your target audience (hint, no matter how “influential” Lady Gaga is reported to be, if you are attempting to convince my dad where to vacation, find another influencer). 

So what is the real secret to identifying key influencers for your community? It begins with taking the time to get to know your community. Listen. Understand who (and what) motivates them. Consider how you can help brand evangelists to become true influencers and how you can encourage influencers to become consistent and loyal brand evangelists.

What is your definition of an influencer and how do you determine the influencers that matter most to your brand, organization, or client? Who are your favorite examples of influencers and why? The comments are all yours. 

5 Responses to “Measuring Social Media: The Value of Influence”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Valerie Merahn Simon, Johna Burke, Crystal DeGoede, Harrison Kratz, Public Relations TV and others. Public Relations TV said: RT @ValerieSimon: How are you measuring influence? My intv w/ @dbreakenridge New @burrelleluce today! #prsa #pradvice […]

  2. Now, Valerie. I think we all know Lady Gaga is an excellent travel agent :). You raise one of my favorite points about influence — It is NOT universal. What I’ve been wondering is almost a second step to your post.

    After you figure out who the influencers for your brand are and have some success reaching out to them, how do you explain the value of influence to someone who has no clue why it’s important? Blog post coming. Nice job here!

  3. Well, I was considering planning my next vacation around Lady Gaga’s current tour– Sadly, I did not see KC on the schedule!

    Oh, well. The trip to Kansas may not be happening, but I will be heading over to shortly… looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the 8 questions to help explain influence!

  4. Tons of followers pretty much always means credibility. I feel like in current times that many celebrities are judged by how many follower they have. It’s kind of weird, but true. Whether it be pinterest, twitter, or anything really.

    I manage social media for a small business and I found a pretty cool website that “sells” followers. There are many websites that do this (surprisingly!) but this particular one has targeted followers too:

    PS- Just don’t tell your boss you bought the followers 🙂

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